Musings about a long recreational kayak or short sea kayak

Obviously, this isn’t my group. I just found this on the internet.
You have to pick your time to do rivers in Utah. I usually went in early May, but some people go in April. The other option is fall. I haven’t tried that, but I want to.
See my previous post about canoe hats.
If you wear shorts, you need to put tons of sunscreen on your knees.

You’re right about lot’s doing the Grand Canyon in canoes. Lot’s was probably a bad choice of words, but I personally know about half a dozen people that have done it in canoes. If you are a whitewater canoeist and there are plenty of those, the Grand Canyon is going to be on your bucket list.

I’m looking very seriously at this boat as my next step up from the Pungo.

It has a smaller cockpit opening, than the Pungo, but not super confining. It is longer and narrower than the Pungo and, I believe, it has two bulkheads. It would be a big step up, from the Pungo, without going crazy. Eddyline calls this a rec boat, but this is one of those boats that I think blurs the line a little.
But first, I need to get and paddle the Pungo and the Northstar. I may decide that these two together are a fantastic combination.
But, knowing me, if I see the Equinox come up for sale at REI again, I may buy it on impulse.

Eddyline specifically excludes ocean or large open water bodies from the list of appropriate places for this boat. It is not remotely a full out sea kayak and the manufacturer agrees.

But unless and until you decide to manage fear of entrapment, rest of it doesn’t matter. You can’t paddle a sea kayak.

Have to agree with Celia: your wholly unfounded fear of “entrapment” is a major obstacle to being anywhere near able to rationally select a kayak for yourself. As is what is apparently extremely limited experience with any kayak. All the obsessive web browsing and picking others’ brains in the world is not going to help you choose an appropriate craft until you have actually paddled a few of them.

Gravity still works underwater. The issue when you capsize a kayak is NOT getting “stuck” inside it. In fact, you fall out instantly if you are not wearing a sprayskirt, almost instantly if wearing a nylon skirt and as soon as you tug the release tab with a snug neoprene skirt (which would only be the type used with a whitewater boat or by someone in a touring kayak with some intermediate experience with wet exits and rolling).

The reality is that if you WANT to roll a kayak back up you have to learn the techniques of bracing your body to actually resist the forces of gravity and inertia to stay inside of the boat! All it takes is a few practice attempts in shallow water deliberately dumping your kayak to discover this simple fact: you capsize, you fall out (in many cases before the boat is even fully upside down.)

As to trying to determine what sort of boat to start out with, many of us on here have been advising newcomers to the sport for decades. We all went through our own process of discovering what kinds of paddling we enjoy most and what boats worked best for us. Most of us made some not-so-great choices at the outset, some eventually lucked out and stumbled across perfect boats by random sampling. Many of us did a lot of reading research and still acquired boats that looked great on paper but turned out to be duds for us. The unavoidable truth is there is no substitute for seat time on the water and that’s what lead most of us to the best choices in the end.

As availability of online information on kayaking and kayaks has expanded exponentially we encounter more and more entrants to the sport who are positive they can select an ideal boat for themselves without ever having tried on that model or even boats in that class, let alone paddled any on the sort of waters they plan to explore. Thinking you can choose the “right” boat this way is a fool’s fantasy.

Your pattern on these forums so far seems to be in convincing yourself, by reading alone, that certain models are going to be ideal for your imagined purposes, then fixating onto another model before you have actually tried any kayak in the real world. Your confidence in being “sure” you have certain things figured out despite having no actual exposure to those aspects is likely going to cause you to waste a lot of money and effort and not be happy with what you end up getting. You really don’t know yet what you don’t know.

I realize the present boat shortage and the reduced availability of on the water demos and rental options makes newbie boat browsing more difficult. And that anyone can makes themselves crazy by going down the rabbithole of too many choices. But before you throw more money into another impulse purchase, do yourself a favor and find some options for actually testing some types of kayaks. Sign up for a paddling class with an outfitter; find a local club or Meetup group that does day paddles — many have members who have “loaner” boats they’ll share. Look to see if there are lakeside “regatta” events in your area where boat dealers and private owners show up with a range of boats that people can try out on the water. Even just showing up at a popular local launch site with any boat you can borrow can give you an opportunity to strike up a conversation with other paddlers and see if they will ket you try out theirs — I’ve done that for countless people.

A few hours of testing the waters in a range of craft will be far more helpful for your process than many more hours of web and catalog “surfing”.

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A mortar tub.

I’ve seen more than one plastic molded “kayak” that looked pretty much like a mortar tub with cupholders.

Pulled this out after 10 years a Hobie Quest 13 kayak. This was the first we had along with a Ocean Trident 15. I wanted to feel what it was like again.

I was horrified I couldn’t even get on it at the dock anymore. I can get in my Extreme 29.5" x 16" cockpit easily @ 235 lb. The Hobie felt so unstable compared to the 22" wide Extreme. It was slow hard to paddle with near zero glide. This time I had a high end carbon paddle also. Couldn’t imagine using the original Bending Branches paddle. The Hobie was horrible. It turned easy but I felt like I was pulling myself out of the kayak. It also turned easy while I was trying to go straight.

Now this feels better than a wide Hobie Quest 13


You could probably get top dollar for that Hobie on CL now. My friends who have a local indie outdoor gear and outfitter shop (Current Designs dealers) also sell used kayaks on consignment. This year most any reasonably standard boat that comes in flies out the door immediately. In fact, they have a waiting list of people to call when anyone brings in a used boat to sell.

(I had to add the “reasonably standard” because someone dropped off a vintage 18’ Ally folding canoe with them in June and it was too much of a novelty for the local market. Since I’m a folding boat geek, I found somebody looking for one out of state and we arranged a sale and shipped it to them. If all went well it was going along on a folding kayak expedition to Alaska for 6 weeks as a cargo boat – we are awaiting a trip report and photos once they get back this month.)

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Speaking of mortar tubs:

I’ll accept that some of your criticisms are probably accurate, but:
I think a some of you, Celia in particular, jump to conclusions about me and take everything I say in the way that makes me appear most ignorant, when I probably didn’t mean it that way at all.
I do have way more canoe experience than kayak experience, but I have more kayak experience than you obviously think and the fact that I don’t agree with you doesn’t prove otherwise. Talking to me like you are talking to a retarded child isn’t going to make me listen to you, I’m going to ignore you. Sorry!
I understand what I intend to use the kayak for, but you just aren’t getting it. You think because you have kayak experience you know what’s best for me, but you don’t. I’m not going to cross the Atlantic in it. I’m going to take it out for day paddles on small western lakes, and take it down easy, morning river runs. I’d like to do some overnights in it. Maybe I’ll do some river runs with minor rapids. I’m old and have had shoulder and elbow surgery. I want something that’s easy to get in and out of and I’m thinking something like the Pungo will be more like getting in and out of a canoe, which I find easy.
Yes, I agree that feeling more comfortable with a smaller cockpit would open up a lot of options for me, but the solution isn’t to run out and buy some narrow kayak with a tiny cockpit and force myself to use it till I get used to it. Should I sign up for a class? Let me get comfortable with the Pungo first, then I’ll think about it.
I have numerous books on boat design and have read numerous articles on kayak design. Based on that, and my experience, I think the Pungo is a good place to start and the Equinox would be a good second step.
If I turn out to be wrong, you guys will be the first to know.
The Pungo is one of the top selling kayaks. Maybe there’s a reason you just don’t get.

It’s listed 790 with paddle. Found dealer and the sell for 1400+ but discontinued. Bottom barely has a mark on it.

Eddyline Sitka LT vs. Equinox:
The Sitka LT is one of the boats I’ve been considering. It is near the “bottom” of Eddylines touring kayaks and the Equinox is near the “top” of it’s recreational kayaks. Yes, there are differences, but, except for the skeg on the Sitka, I’d say those differences are pretty subtle. It’s not like they are two different species. I see them like variations in the same species.
I’m still considering the Sitka, but I’m leaning toward the Equinox for several reasons. You may not agree with those reasons, but I know what I’d be happy with better than you do. One of the reasons I prefer the Equinox is the lack of a retractable skeg. On the one hand, I can see it being very useful. But it’s also a crutch and something that can break. Right now, I think I could live without it.

That is a great photo, but it has absolutely no correlation to the conversation.
The Pungo is a very, very, very highly regarded kayak.
So is the Equinox.

The issue is one of safety in your case. Your dogmatic tendency to try and disappear differences that have a real impact on what kind of environment a given boat should be used in are the kinds of errors that create unfortunate newspaper stories.

If you stay in calm, flat water without a lot of fetch no problem. But you are all over the place on the boats, your needs etc; no reason to expect in your decision making on where to take a boat would be any better.

For the moment your paddling appears to be limited to mostly a virtual situation. The risk is when it changes to your getting a boat wet.

I have two Pungo 140 Duralites and loved them. I made several 21.5 mile trips across the Upper Chesapeake Bay and had it in 18 inch waves, but I wouldn’t do it now, because it’s the wrong boat for the open bay. I agree with earlier posts and switched to closed cockpit after I overcame the clostrophobic feeling. At the time, I clocked average speed of 4.4 mph over 10.5 miles distance. Its a nice boat for a rec boat.

Pro is that it has the customary Wilderness System stability, and you will fall out if it rolls; it is roomy, with the same max capacity of 350 lbs as the 145 Tsunami, but understand safe capacity to make sure it isn’t overload; the low deck makes it less susceptible to wind; the 28 inch width helps it ride waves; it has an optional console that closes the forward cockpit and a coffee cup holder (bad idea to drink a diuretic in a paddle boat), but why spec an open cockpit then close it.

Con is the 28 Inch width; it will ride waves, but takes water over the front and sides when wave reach 18 inches (14.5 Tsunami can handle 30 inch waves and is a little faster); no thigh pads to lock into the boat; the biggest issue in the older model is no front bulkhead, which is floatation if overturned. I bought 3" neoprene and patterned one to seal and stiffen the hull. Having said all that, its handier than a canoe, and if you stay out of big waves and relatively close to land, you will enjoy it. Speed was not a problem in my mind - it behaves like a 14 ft boat. My only concern was seaworthiness in open water, away from land. I read recently that the 140 was discontinued, and the offering is limited to a 125 model. That is an entirely different boat with a 325 lb max capacity. Safe capacity I would think is around 215 lbs total.

Guess there’s many paddling with crutches considering all the kayaks designed with skegs.


There’s a big difference between the rec kayak, the Equinox, and the touring kayak, the Sitka.

Equinox is to be paddled only inshore on lakes and ponds. The Sitka can be paddled on seas/oceans.

The Sitka will be nimble; the Equinox not. Sitka is has full deck rigging, including perimeter lines. Equinox has no perimeter lines. You don’t realize their value until you need them during an out-of-boat experience.

A skeg is most certainly not a “crutch.” Nor is a rudder.

Reading about them and making comparisons on paper can be fun, but until you actually paddle each boat in varying conditions for an hour or so, it’s all just conjecture.

Whatever you wind up with, always wear your PFD and paddle safely.

4.4 mph average in a Pungo 140 is impressive. Do you have a screenshot of your tracker? I’d have not thought those boats were particularly quick.

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Pungos are popular because they are useful for a certain narrow range of activities and environments — they are nicely made and perfectly fine for those who actually understand their limitations. (Also, their manufacturer has wide distibution and a massive marketing budget. Just because something is widely popular does not mean it is ideal for everybody.) I know folks who have them and who were well informed in that choice, for instance to carry a small dog along. It’s a more efficient hull than most rec boats but still very wide (wider than many canoes) and relatively slow. A large cohort of the public values flatwater stability over any other performance characteristic. But that yawning cockpit can get people in trouble in some pretty common conditions. It’s not clear that you fully understand that.

I’m technically “old” too (71) and with some typical age-related reductions in flexibility. Most of my kayaks have cockpits around 34” by 20”. I’m relatively long legged for my height (same inseam as my 5’11” brother) but I can plop my butt in the seat of any of those boats and draw each flexed leg in or out, one at a time. I know I have better control of the boat and am more safe in any conditions (which are changeable no matter what waters you are on) with the security of a well fitted spray skirt (not to mention more dry.)

Nobody here is patronizing you, by the way. Much effort here, and in your other threads, has been made by people from whose actual experience you could benefit if you would not be so stubbornly defensive. You choose to scoff and seem to have a such a stubborn need to be “right” that you resist and dismiss any suggestions that are counter to prejudices you’ve developed sans experience. Being indignant isn’t helping you, nor is posting your “musings” apparently hoping to gain only accolades for your virtual “wisdom.”

You accuse us of not understanding what you want and need but your statements of intended use have been all over the place, so you can hardly blame us for trying to hit a moving target. We’ve tried to address your shifting parameters but I’ve yet to see you accept anyone’s well-intentioned (and useful) suggestions with grace rather than defiance.

The only condescension here is originating from you. Learned advice is not criticism. Might be useful to think about why you find it so threatening.